Ink-Slinger profiles by Alex Jay: Tom Cooke


Thomas J. “Tom” Cooke was born on October 7, 1923, Brooklyn, New York, according to the New York, New York, Birth Index at Ancestry.com.

In the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Cooke was the fourth of eight children born to Joseph, a shipyard riveter, and Anna. They lived at 293 Park Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.

The 1940 United States Federal census said Cooke was a new worker and his highest level of education was two years of high school. He lived with his parents and siblings at the same address.

The Tonawanda News (New York), May 31, 1961, published an article about the strip, Drift Marlo, starting the next day in its pages. About Cooke it said

Brooklyn-born Tom Cooke went to Hollywood in 1945, after a hitch in the Marines. (He designed the official wartime insignia of the Marine Air Corps.) He was employed by Republic Studios as art director and sketch artist. For several years he drew for comic magazines and co-authored the Gene Autry strip with Phil Evans. He served as technical director for Paramount’s “That Certain Feeling,” creating art for the film and advising Bob Hope and George Sanders in their roles as cartoon artists.


American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Coke drew Drift Marlo from May 29, 1961 to July 15, 1965. (Another photograph of Cooke is here.) When Cooke left the strip, Mike Arens did the art from July 17, 1965 to January 1, 1966. Phil Evans was the writer of the General Features series, and I. M. Levitt served as technical consultant. Earlier, Cooke worked on the Gene Autry strip and assisted on Mary Worth.

The Santa Barbara, California city directories for 1956 to 1958 listed Cooke at 122 West Arrellaga in apartment four. The listing included a roommate, “Kenneth Ernest”, whose surname may have been misspelled. He could be the comics artist Ken Ernst.

According to the California Marriage Index, at Ancestry.com, Cooke married Delcie M Hull on November 2, 1958 in Santa Barbara, California. City directories for 1959 and 1965 said the couple resided at 7103 Del Norte Drive.

Cooke’s comic book credits san be viewed at Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999. Who’s Who also credits him for work on Sesame Street publications but that is incorrect. There was an illustrator name Tom Cooke (1936–2014) whose obituary appeared in the Boston Globe.

Cooke passed away in October 1986, in Goleta, California.

—Alex Jay

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